#21 Northwestern sneaks by Kentucky 24-23

  • #21 Northwestern sneaks by Kentucky 24-23

#21 Northwestern sneaks by Kentucky 24-23

The Music City Bowl was full of controversy, injuries and ejections.

The Music City Bowl was marred by controversy and horrendous officiating.

Fisher also was ejected for targeting against Penn State. In the end Kentucky scored a touchdown with 37 seconds left and chose to go for a two-point conversion in order to win the game outright. Stephen Johnson finished his United Kingdom career with 257 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Some years there are more SEC versus Big Ten match-ups, but this season the Music City Bowl will be one of only two games where the conferences will square off. Stoops elected to go for the win, but Johnson and Richardson couldn't connect on the pass.

Northwestern's first two possessions resulted in two consecutive three-and-outs. Northwestern also lost its starting quarterback Clayton Thorson early in the second quarter from a serious knee injury. NU would go for it again with 2:36 to go in the game and United Kingdom would make the stop in Northwestern territory. If Richardson hauls in the pass from Johnson, we are having a completely different conversation but that wasn't the case.

Kentucky started the season 5-1, but, with close decisions over teams like Southern Miss, Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Michigan, it didn't feel like that kind of success would last. Jackson earned MVP honors with 157 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns.

Northwestern would drive again.

Before that misstep, Johnson made all the right moves, guiding United Kingdom 74 yards down the field and running it in 3 yards for the touchdown to pull the Cats within three points, 17-14.

The start of the second quarter was a mixed bag for Northwestern. Jeremy Larkin took a handoff and fired across the field to Thorson, who made the 24-yard catch before getting tackled by linebacker Jordan Jones. That led to a quick five play drive by Northwestern for 55 yards and capped off by a 2 yard touchdown by Justin Jackson.

Kentucky has a pretty nice running back of its own in Benny Snell Jr. The official then threw a flag that ejected the running back for putting his hands on an official.

On UK's next possession, Montre Hartage picked off Johnson after his pass ricocheted off the hands of Ross and into the hands of. Northwestern faced fourth-and-goal at the United Kingdom 2 and opted for a trick play fell incomplete to turn the ball over on downs. Johnson's pass was incomplete to Richardson. Johnson was injured on the late hit and was replaced by Drew Barker.

Jackson scored on the next play to put the Cats up 10-7, a lead they would never relinquish.

Past year upon Northwestern's arrival in NY to prepare for the Pinstripe Bowl, coach Pat Fitzgerald showed his players a clip from ESPN's bowl preview show. The ESPN broadcast indicated that Thorson is done for the day, which leaves Matt Alviti to take the reins of the Northwestern offense. Johnson left briefly in the first half. However, UK shut it down from there as Northwestern settles for a 33 yard field goal from Charlie Kubander.

The fourth quarter of the Music City Bowl began with dueling punts.

On UK's next possession, the offense was moving the ball.

Jackson rushed for 1,154 yards and nine touchdowns this season. However, an ill-timed throw by Johnson resulted in a pick-six for Northwestern. United Kingdom cutting the deficit to 17-14. Unable to get the touchdown, United Kingdom settled for a 48 yard field goal from Austin MacGinnis. And after its defense stopped Northwestern on another fourth down, the Wildcats would reach the end zone.

Johnson drove the Cats down the field and on first-and-goal, ran it in for a touchdown. The ensuing two-point conversion that would've secured the upset failed.